Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Keep On Writing

Do you ever get an idea and it won't leave you alone when you're away from your writing implement (be it keyboard or pen/pencil)? That's a writer's joy because the words flow out almost seamlessly.

What about when you love your story idea, but the words won't flow? Does this happen to you? Would you consider it a semi-writer's block?

What if (oh no) you've fallen out of love with your story idea, but people (like your agent or an editor) are expecting you to finish it? Has that ever happened to you?

I've experienced two of the three above, and even sorta the last one - although it was with a manuscript that I'd already finished, but needing tweaking.

I've never thought of myself as fickle; but I guess it does happen. One day I love the idea I'm working on, then the next day, not so much.

My advice to myself is (especially if it's the last situation) - keep on writing. Isn't that what all the "pros" in the writing industry say to do? If we don't sit our tushies down and write, the story will never get finished.

If I find myself in either #2 or #3, I might create a new playlist, devise new characteristics for my characters, or change the setting. I try to let the words flow where ever they may go, and I don't allow my own "ideas" to get in the way.

What are your writing strategies when you're stuck?


Gin said...

Hey Kris!

I know exactly what you mean. I usually run into all three of these issues right after I finish a novel and start on the next. First, all the ideas start to flow in and bug me. One story becomes too saturated with plot twists, and I peel away the layers and make several different novels.

Then I start hitting the wall. You know the one: "Every story sucks!"

I start questioning whether anyone would even WANT to read a book with my chosen plot.

I fall out of love with the idea and end up putting it away for a while.

With Murder Creek, I had to edit it so many times I nearly hated the story by the end. I love it again now, but I didn't while editing. Goes to show you that books are like your best friend. Most of the time you love them to pieces, but when you spend all day every day together, you're bound to get sick of each other.

I once heard a writer say to Romantic Times "My father never got plumber's block" and I quote this all the time. I lost the issue so I feel horrible that I can't give this brilliant woman her due, but her words have stuck with me.

When writing is your career, you don't have the luxury of taking time off because you're not inspired or hitting mental blocks.

Like a leg cramp, the only way to get past the horrible is to walk through the pain.

Great topic!
Best, Gin

Anita Clenney said...

I can't say I've fallen out of love with my stories, but as Gin says, after SEVERAL edits, they can lose a bit of their appeal.

When I get stuck, I do something to knock me out of stuck mode. That can be just brainstorming about my story, which I love to do, or just getting away from it and doing something else.

If I pick up a book and start reading, go shopping, go for a ride in the car, even go to the grocery store, I suddenly find I'm inspired. Almost every time I go to the movies I can't wait to get home and start writing.

And like you said, Kris, it can really help to switch something up. Change the setting of the story, or something about the characters. Or just think "what if." I LOVE "what if's."

If only I could find inspiration from cleaning my house :) but that's another topic.

Gin said...

LOL. I find inspiration from cleaning my house, Anita.

Everytime I do it I think, "if I write a NYT bestseller, I'm hiring a house cleaner FIRST".